Unaccompanied migrant teen dies while in U.S. custody

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services photo shows rooms inside the facility at Casa Padre Shelter, in Brownsville, Texas. An HHS official said that a 16-year-old boy died while in U.S. custody after becoming ill while at a Texas shelter. Photo by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/EPA

May 1 (UPI) — An unaccompanied migrant teenager died while in the custody of the U.S. government in Texas on Tuesday, Department of Health and Human Services officials said.

The 16-year-old boy died in a children’s hospital’s intensive care unit after he received treatment for an unspecified illness beginning April 22, HHS spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer said in an emailed statement to UPI.

“The cause of death is currently under review and, in accordance with standard [Office of Refugee Resettlement] policies and procedures, the case will be subject to a full review,” Stauffer said.

The child was transferred to an ORR center by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on April 20 and clinicians observed no health concerns nor did the child report any himself upon arriving at the shelter, Stauffer said.

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The next morning the boy became “noticeably ill,” exhibiting fever, chills and a headache and shelter personnel brought him to a hospital emergency department where he was treated and released back to the shelter.

His condition did not improve after being returned to the shelter and he was taken to another hospital emergency department the morning of April 22, before being transferred to the intensive care unit.

Stauffer added that arrangements were made for the boy’s brother and Guatemalan consular officials to visit him while he was hospitalized and that his family received “frequent updates” from hospital staff about his condition.

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